Second home or holiday home insurance

Learn the difference between regular home insurance and second home insurance in our dedicated guide.

Second home insurance

If you own a second home, you need buildings and contents insurance just like you have on your main residence. If you have a mortgage on your property, your mortgage provider will probably insist you have buildings insurance before they’ll lend you the money.

However, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to simply add another home to your current insurance policy. So you’ll need to take out a separate policy, and this will vary depending on what you use your second home for.

Second homes usually fall into one of a few categories:

  • A holiday home
  • Somewhere you stay during the working week
  • Somewhere you're renovating while you live in your current home
  • An inherited home that you're waiting to sell

Each one will need different home insurance.

Holiday home insurance

The type of insurance you need for your holiday home will depend on how often you use it and whether you rent it out or not. For example, many policies don't allow you to leave the property unoccupied for more than 30 days – so you'll likely need specific holiday or unoccupied home cover.

Holiday home insurance is more likely to cover swimming pools, solar panels and hot tubs. But you should avoid leaving valuables there as you may not be covered for theft over a certain value.

Do you need extra cover?

If you rent out your holiday home, you may need extra cover for things like:

  • Accidental damage, including furniture repairs and lost keys
  • Public liability insurance
  • Employer's liability insurance if you hire a gardener, cleaner or handyman
  • Loss of rent in case of an emergency like flood or fire
  • Legal expenses cover in case of a dispute with tenants

Specialist holiday let policies may include these as part of your cover. But if you rent it out regularly, you may want to think about landlord insurance.

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Is holiday home insurance expensive?

They can be pricey because there's a greater risk of burglary, or damage from things like water leaks that can go unnoticed for weeks or months. But it's worth paying the extra to know you're covered.

Different types of holiday homes

Holiday home insurance can cover all sorts of different properties, from cottages to chalets. Remember, they'll need different types of cover, particularly if it's an apartment in a block. So always check your agreement before buying something you don't need.

Holiday homes abroad

There are lots of UK companies that insure properties abroad – or you could choose a local specialist. But if you aren't fluent in the language, make sure you choose an insurer than can give you your documents and process claims in English.

Whichever cover you choose, remember:

  • Don't just go for the cheapest – the right cover is more important than saving a few pounds. Or euros.
  • You can often increase the voluntary excess to reduce the price of the cover. Just make sure it's affordable if you need to claim.

Home insurance for your weekday work apartment

If you have a place in the city that you use Monday to Thursday, you probably won’t need to pay any more for your insurance just because it’s a second home. If you don’t leave it unoccupied for more than 30 days you can take out standard buildings and contents cover, just like you have on your main home.

If your place in the city is an apartment, you may not even need buildings insurance. If it's apartment, you may not even need buildings insurance as this is usually covered in your service charge. But if you have a mortgage, you may still need to show that the landlord or freeholder has adequate cover in place.

Home insurance for a renovation project

If you're renovating a property, you'll almost certainly need specialist cover while the work is going on. Most standard policies won't cover extended periods of renovations – especially if the property is unoccupied. Speak to your current insurer to see if they can offer you increased cover. If not, they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction.

Get cover before you start work

If there are people working in your home, check that they're insured against damage and injury, otherwise you may need public liability insurance.

With expensive tools and materials lying around, you'll need to protect against an increased risk of theft. And of course, there's more chance of fire, flood or structural damage – even with the most careful contractors.

Inherited property. Home insurance for an inherited property

Even if you're planning to sell, you'll need to insure the property until you complete. If the house is empty, you may not need contents cover, but you'll need to tell your insurance company if it's unoccupied. Most standard policies don't cover homes that are left unoccupied for more than 30 days.

Want to know more?

Buildings insurance

What’s covered by buildings insurance and, more importantly, what’s not?

More about buildings insurance

Contents insurance

Our guide will help you calculate how much contents insurance you need.

More about contents insurance

Home insurance claim

Need to make a home insurance claim? Here’s how to go about it.

More about home insurance claims

Additional information

  1. Terms and Conditions apply. Home Insurance is arranged and administered by British Gas and is underwritten by a carefully selected insurer. Your policy documents will show who your insurer is. British Gas is a trading name of British Gas Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales (Registered No.03141243). Registered office: Millstream, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 5GD.